04.07.2024 12:54 h

Erik ten Hag signs new deal at Manchester United

Erik ten Hag has signed a contract extension that keeps him at Old Trafford until 2026, the Premier League club announced on Thursday.

There had been intense speculation over the Dutchman's future after a terrible 2023/24 Premier League campaign but United ended the season with shock 2-1 victory against Manchester City in the FA Cup final.

British media last month said Ten Hag, who has won two trophies in his two seasons at Old Trafford, would remain in his post following a performance review by club chiefs.

"Erik ten Hag has extended his contract as Manchester United men's first-team manager until June 2026," United said in a statement.

The former Ajax manager, whose deal had been due to expire in 2025, admitted there was work to be done to close the gap on United's Premier League rivals.

"Looking back at the past two years, we can reflect with pride on two trophies and many examples of progression from where we were when I joined," he said.

"However, we must also be clear that there is still lots of hard work ahead to reach the levels expected of Manchester United, which means challenging for English and European titles.

"In my discussions with the club, we have found complete unity in our vision for reaching those goals, and we are all strongly committed to making that journey together."

Dan Ashworth, Manchester United sporting director, said: "With two trophies in the past two seasons, Erik has reinforced his record as one of the most consistently successful coaches in European football.

"While the club's review of last season highlighted areas for improvement, it also reached a clear conclusion that Erik was the best partner for us to work with in driving up standards and outcomes.

"This group of players and staff have already shown they are capable of competing and winning at the top level -- now we need to do it more consistently."

Ten Hag, 54, ended a six-year trophy drought for United in his first season by lifting the League Cup and finished third in the league, encouraging fans that they might launch a Premier League title bid in 2023/24.

But those hopes vanished quickly as the team struggled for consistency, hit by injuries and poor form.

United finished an embarrassing eighth in the Premier League -- their lowest final position since 1990 -- and crashed out of the Champions League at the group stage.

There were reports that Ten Hag would be sacked regardless of the result in the FA Cup final at Wembley but they ultimately proved wide of the mark.

British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe took control of football operations at Old Trafford following his purchase of a minority stake in the club earlier this year.

United have made sweeping changes to their backroom staff since then, including the appointment of Ashworth, who was previously at Newcastle.

Ten Hag is United's fifth permanent manager since the end of Alex Ferguson's trophy-filled reign in 2013, following David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

United will launch the 2024/25 Premier League season with a home game against Fulham on August 16.